Sailors branch out with this project

ET1 (SW) Chris Huddleston of Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Air Operations, attaches a string of lights to the newly completed can tree at The Collection in Oxnard. About a dozen Sailors from the ground electronics crew helped students from the Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) charter school in Camarillo build the tree Thursday, Dec. 6. They returned a few days later to disassemble the tree so the cans of green beans could go to Food Share and be distributed to needy families in time for the holidays.

Photo by Andrea Howry / Lighthouse

ET1 (SW) Chris Huddleston of Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Air Operations, attaches a string of lights to the newly completed can tree at The Collection in Oxnard. About a dozen Sailors from the ground electronics crew helped students from the Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) charter school in Camarillo build the tree Thursday, Dec. 6. They returned a few days later to disassemble the tree so the cans of green beans could go to Food Share and be distributed to needy families in time for the holidays.

With the base and trunk in place, students find themselves well under way on assembly.

Photo by Andrea Howry / LIghthouse

With the base and trunk in place, students find themselves well under way on assembly.

Sailors show students from the ACE charter school that using a human chain is a safer and more efficient method of unloading cargo than having individuals walk to and from the cargo area carrying boxes.

Photo by Andrea Howry / LIghthouse

Sailors show students from the ACE charter school that using a human chain is a safer and more efficient method of unloading cargo than having individuals walk to and from the cargo area carrying boxes.

With help from ET2 (SW) Pete Geier, ET1 (SW) Chris Huddleston makes sure the “trunk” of the tree is level.

Photo by Andrea Howry / LIghthouse

With help from ET2 (SW) Pete Geier, ET1 (SW) Chris Huddleston makes sure the “trunk” of the tree is level.

Sailors and students work together to hoist the tree frame into place at The Collection.

Photos by Andrea Howry / Lighthouse

Sailors and students work together to hoist the tree frame into place at The Collection.

It sounds like a question on a college entrance exam:

If you have 10,000 cans of green beans and you want to use them to create an 18-tier tree, how large would the base have to be?

Students from the Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) charter high school in Camarillo figured it out, and on Thursday, Dec. 6, with some muscle provided by Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), they built the tree at The Collection, a new shopping center in Oxnard.

A few days later, they helped take the tree apart so the cans could be taken to Food Share, Ventura County’s food bank, for families needing food this holiday season.

As one Sailor put it, “That’s a lot of Green Bean Surprise.”

The Air Operations ground electronics crew at NBVC Point Mugu sent about a dozen Sailors to help with the project.

“I think this is outstanding,” said Electronics Technician 1st Class Daniel Oertel, the leading petty officer in charge. “It’s not often we can be involved in a project that helps the community and also shows everyone the Navy is out here doing things like this.”

The students, led by construction technology instructor Gary Clifford and math teacher Ian McGwire, had everything in hand right from the start. About 30 of them were involved in the actual construction — 90 had worked on at least a part of the design over the previous three weeks — and, except for a short lunch break, they spent six hours drilling, stacking and leveling the massive structure.

“The project involved a lot of geometry and algebra,” Clifford said.

At one point during construction, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Josh Lampel explained how to calculate the volume.

“A quadratic equation integrated and rotated around a y-axis would give you the volume,” he said.

Huh?

“Really,” he said, “it’s simple calculus.”

The students had used AutoCAD, computer-aided design software, to come up with the construction format. They calculated the size of each tier and what the base should look like to support 5 tons.

They also had to solve some problems on site, like the fact that the sidewalk they were building it on had a 3-degree slope for drainage. They had to slide pieces of wood underneath the base to level it out before they could begin stacking the cans.

It took them about an hour to get the base together. By their lunch break at noon, the tree was more than halfway done, and around 2 p.m., senior Manny Gomez and junior Jenny Raya attached the lightweight decorative top made of empty green pea cans.

The Sailors noticed no one had brought lights, so they pooled their money, went to the nearby Target and came back with a spool that could be strung around the tree.

McGwire said a hands-on project like this can bring out the best in a teenager.

“The power and confidence these kids are showing right now is unbelievable,” he said. “They’re working together, and they’re taking pride in their work.”

Monica James, NBVC’s school liaison officer, said the project gave the Sailors a chance to share teamwork and construction skills.

“This is such a great project!” she said as she watched the students and Sailors working side by side.

Electronics Technician 1st Class Angela McCallister said the students’ hard work kept the Navy’s involvement to a minimum, but the Sailors were able to share at least one important lesson.

“We organized a working party to unload the cans,” she explained.

The students had each been walking up to the cargo area, grabbing a box of cans and carrying it back to the tree. The Sailors showed them how to form a human chain to make the work safer and more efficient.

“They understood immediately,” McAllister said. “They dove right in and were enthusiastic about it.”

Leticia Wilson, marketing director for The Collection, was thrilled with the final outcome.

“Maybe,” she said, “we’ll make this an annual event.”

© 2012 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Commanding Officer

CAPT. LARRY VASQUEZ

Chief Staff Officer

CAPT. SCOTT LOESCHKE

Lighthouse Editor

ANDREA HOWRY, 805-989-5281

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KIMBERLY GEARHART
Ventura County Star - 805-437-0000

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MARGIE COCHRANE, Ventura County Star

Niche Publications

JOHN GARCIA, 805-437-0365

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The Lighthouse publishes every other Thursday. All stories and photos must be submitted no later than the Thursday prior to publication. To submit a story or photo request, call the Lighthouse editor, Andrea Howry, at 989-5281 or send an e-mail to lighthouse@navy.mil.
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NSWC Port Hueneme and representatives from eight allied, international navies joined forces on April 7 to establish a unified strategic plan for modernizing and sustaining the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) on a global scale, yielding enhanced worldwide fleet readiness and collective maritime strength against ever-evolving threats.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
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